A new AI development program for gestational age estimation in prenatal care

Intelligent Ultrasound’s ScanNav FetalCheck software enables a non-skilled user to get an accurate gestational age (GA) with minimal training and without the need for an expensive high-end ultrasound machine. It has the potential to transform antenatal care both in low and middle income countries (LMICs) and in high income countries (HICs) by allowing the age of the fetus to be assessed in a primary care setting where women need it. The software can be paired with a variety of ultrasound machines.

Maternal Health Equity, Affordable Ultrasound Machine

Every woman has the right to receive excellent care before, during, and after pregnancy. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends having at least one routine ultrasound before the 24th week of pregnancy to ensure a positive pregnancy experience. In most high income countries often two scans are completed. The first at 11-14 weeks is performed to confirm viability of the fetus as well as the gestational age to pinpoint the likely due date. A second scan at 18-20 weeks focusses on detecting congenital abnormalities. Additional scans may be offered to monitor high-risk or complex pregnancies.

The combination of AI tools with affordable devices promises to make ultrasound widely available at every access point to healthcare for pregnant women through the creation of a suite of tools that can be incorporated into a low-cost, battery-powered device for novice users. Starting with AI-enabled Gestational Age. Gestational age evaluation is becoming significantly faster, and in future clinical care choices could be made immediately at the point-of-care – avoiding further delays and costs in an already overburdened system.

“Accurate estimation of gestational age is crucial for prenatal care: all aspects depend on knowledge of how far along the pregnancy journey a woman and her fetus are. In many low-income settings this is just not available, chiefly due to unavailability of expensive ultrasound equipment and trained staff. In this project, hand-held ultrasound and AI technology are being paired to overcome these roadblocks – this is disruptive technology that has the potential to allow better pregnancy care for all women.”

Prof. Aris Papageorghiou, Professor of Fetal Medicine, University of Oxford

Use of ScanNav FetalCheck in the largest ever trial study on use of aspirin to prevent pre-eclampsia

ScanNav FetalCheck, is to be used in the largest ever trial on the use of aspirin to prevent pre-eclampsia.Conducted in Kenya, Ghana and South Africa, the trial is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and led by international NGO Concept Foundation*.

Having an accurate gestational age is important in the prevention of pre-eclampsia for two reasons. Firstly, the risk of the condition depends on a number of clinical factors which change with gestational age. Secondly, the prophylactic effect of aspirin depends on when it is first administered within the pregnancy. However, accurate determination of fetal age is difficult in LMICs as it must be measured by trained sonographers, and very few front-line healthcare workers have the necessary skills.

The clinical trial sites conducting risk screening will use Intelligent Ultrasound’s ScanNav FetalCheck software to enable frontline healthcare professionals, with no prior experience of ultrasound, to quickly estimate gestational age.

*The project is conducted in collaboration between Concept Foundation, Burnet Institute, University of Ghana, University of Nairobi, University of Cape Town, Nossal Institute for Global Health – University of Melbourne, Tommy’s National Centre for Maternity Improvement, and Intelligent Ultrasound, with the generous financial support of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

*Regulatory information

ScanNav FetalCheck is currently not licensed for clinical use.

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